I grew up in an Independent Southern Baptist church. Very traditional by today’s standards of Protestant Churches but also very good at helping build a foundation of faith for me. I learned the basics of what it means to be a Christian – how the Bible is God’s authoritative word, how accepting Jesus is the essential and exclusive way to gain relationship with God, the importance of daily habits & disciplines, tithing, church service & attendance, and prayer.
In high school I began attending a less traditional Baptist church. God’s word came alive to me and was taught in a way I had never heard. It was more vibrant and I saw things as true historical stories for the first time, not just an old book of lessons.
As my wife and I began dating, I attended her church which was Pentecostal. That’s when God began speaking back to me and His Holy Spirit began to play an active role in my faith.
In all these stages of life, I became comfortable in a variety of church settings. Yet in all that time, I never memorized the Lord’s Prayer! It still catches me off guard when I attend a service somewhere and people begin reciting it!
And while there are far worse things to memorize, it’s important to note that the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, and Luke 11:2-4) is not a specific formula that when recited, God appears as if you’ve rubbed a magic lamp and He is your genie.
Instead, the Lord’s Prayer contains the pattern, or components, for a prayer. In this way, Jesus role modeled for us so that we can know what all we need to do when we pray, and then the rest is up to us.
Here are the components:
- Our prayer is directed to God
- He is to be worshiped
- We should seek God’s plan for our lives and the world
- We ask God to meet our needs
- We confess our sins to God, turn from them, and forgive others, just like God forgives us
- And we ask for God’s help to resist sin and protection from Satan’s plans
And that’s it. It’s that simple. Those are the ingredients to prayer and it’s our job to incorporate those into a regular rhythm of pray.
Now give it a try.
Thoughts to Pray/Journal:
- Which parts are the most challenging to include in your prayer life? Which are the easiest?
- Have you seen the Lord’s Prayer as something to memorize or as a model?
- What can you shift about your prayer life to include each of these components regularly?